What did you do for your Gold Award project?
The Feline Family Fix-Up project was designed to draw greater attention to, and promote adoption, of the adoptable cats at the Denver Animal Shelter. Every year approximately 6-8 million animals are brought into shelters. Of those, about 25% will be adopted, but about 70% of the cats will be euthanized. Of those euthanized, approximately 80% are healthy, treatable, and could have been adopted into new homes. (Source: American Humane Society, 2013) By highlighting the cat rooms with bright decorations, I will be able get more people to notice and look closer at the cat rooms. Some people will choose a cat quickly based on looks alone. Color can be attractive and can greatly affect people’s moods and actions. By creating inviting and happy environments, I could help potential adopters fall in love. The playful decorations will allow people to visualize the cats in a more positive light, and even imagine the cat in their own home. This helps more cats find their forever home by increasing the number cat adoptions and ultimately save more cats lives.
How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?
I looked at the adoption data reports from the Denver Animal Shelter over the course of three years. Each report showed how many cats were adopted out of the shelter over the course of three years since I did my project. For example, in the first year the adoption rate increased 12.38%. While the following year it increased by 33.89%. There seemed to be a more positive view on cats.
How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?
Other volunteers and interested community members learned how to continue to decorate and brighten up other rooms/areas of the shelter to increase adoptions. By sharing information and pictures on how to improve other rooms, there have been increased animal adoptions at the Denver Animal Shelter. I extended my reach out to a wider community by sharing my project, including information on how to create rooms in other facilities. Community education and inspiration was done during a presentation at school during Academic Showcase. I created tri-fold display board, included pictures, and prepared and delivered a speech about my project, needs, and the good work of the DAS. I created a detailed instruction sheet on how to apply the decals. Also, the volunteer coordinator at the shelter helped spread the word via social media and other methods.
What is your project’s global and/or national connection?
Homeless animals exist in every community, every city, every state, and every country in the world. Homeless animals are uncared for and do not receive the medical care they need to live healthy lives. They are also freely able to breed at will, creating and multiplying the problem exponentially. If more people are made aware of adoptable animals at neighborhood shelters, they are less likely to buy pets. As people are made aware, they will look to do the right thing and adopt. This will decrease the sheer numbers of homeless and sickly animals. It also helped to increase personal wellness in the owners as it has been proven that pets decrease stress and increase happiness and content feelings in people. I also connected my project to other shelters with the help of the volunteer coordinator at DAS.
What did you learn about yourself?
From this project, I have learned that when I set out to help someone, I will not stop until it is done. If what I am doing is meaningful to me, then chances are the cause will be meaningful to others. Because of this project, I have learned that I am a strong leader. I advocated for myself and I can get a task done on my own, as well as being able to talk to other people and tell them my ideas.
How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?
Because of this project, I can talk with more confidence when speaking publicly. While leading a project, I learned how to be more adaptable and work within changing time frames and demands from complete strangers. I discovered a new determination within myself that I did not know I had.
Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?
I feel like the Gold Award was an important part of this journey because it not only had me step out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, but it also helped me find who I am as a person and know what my role is not only in Girl Scouts but in other parts of my life as well.
How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)?
Earning the Gold Award has helped me to become a go- getter. I had to become persistent when talking to people to get the permission that I needed to start the project. Learning to become a go-getter has taught me that I can get anything done if I put my mind to it.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org